Sound City - Real to Reel

Release date: March 12, 2013
Label: RCA
1. Heaven and All by Robert Levon Been, Dave Grohl, Peter Hayes
2. Time Slowing Down by Chris Goss, Tim Commerford, Grohl, Brad Wilk
3. You Can't Fix This by Stevie Nicks, Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Rami Jaffee
4. The Man That Never Was by Rick Springfield, Grohl, Hawkins, Nate Mendel, Pat Smear
5. Your Wife Is Calling by Lee Ving, Grohl, Hawkins, Alain Johannes, Smear
6. From Can to Can't by Corey Taylor, Grohl, Rick Nielsen, Scott Reeder
7. Centipede by Josh Homme, Goss, Grohl, Johannes
8. A Trick With No Sleeve by Johannes, Grohl, Homme
9. Cut Me Some Slack by Paul McCartney, Grohl, Krist Novoselic, Smear
10. If I Were Me by Grohl, Jessy Greene, Jaffee, Jim Keltner
11. Mantra by Grohl, Homme, Trent Reznor
Dave Grohl's directorial debut in Sound City lands him with positive reviews for this documentary. Being no newbie to the acting world, Grohl has been doing cameos in films such as Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny and The Muppets. However, being a veteran in music throughout the years with Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Probot and Queens, the music to Sound City is definitely a no-brainer accompaniment to the documentary. 

Sound City captures the sound and moments of well known musicians from the days of Metallica, Nirvana, Fleetwood Mac, Johnny Cash and so on. In this documentary, Grohl includes an assortment of other musicians to be featured in a temporary super group.

Taylor Hawkins filled in for drums on almost everything that Grohl didn't. Krist Novoselic returns on bass after a long hiatus from the limelight. With the likes of Paul McCartney, Josh Homme, Lee Ving, Tim Commerford, Brad Wilk, Trent Reznor and many more, Sound City is a big musical salad bowl that is brimming with different talents from different genres of music. Each sharing their own love and expression for music.

I've always liked Stevie Nicks' vocals eventhough I'm not a huge fan of Fleetwood Mac or her solo work, but her voice makes you understand why she was one of the best in the 70s. I'm quite intrigued that Grohl, Hawkins and Rami Jaffee managed to compose a track to her style. It sounded exactly like what Stevie Nicks would actually sing.

From Can to Can't is another gem played by Corey Taylor, Grohl, Rick Nielsen and Scott Reeder. After hearing the vocals on this track, I personally think that Corey's a good vocalist. It sounds like there's some sort of slow sadness emanating from a suffering man that's finally trying breaking free, that finally does break out in anger, which makes the track even more endearing. Of course the guitar solo in it kicks ass and lends to making the song great too.

I'm not too sure with tracks number 5, 8 and 9 and many will probably hate me for this, but Cut Me Some Slack really doesn't work for me. I like what Paul McCartney did in the 60s, but this track just feels weak and contrived even with such an awesome lineup in it. It might just be a nostalgia patchwork that Dave Grohl always wanted, but it really doesn't bring out the energy from some of the other tracks that are on Sound City.

If I Were Me is an acoustic track with strings accompaniment that, in my opinion, is the most beautiful track in this album. Grohl's heartfelt lyrics and vocal mood singing, "If I were me I'd wait forever, what's your hurry?" really tugs on the strings of the heart. The piano and violin begs and wails with intense sadness that just buries deep into your soul. That's just it. It hits the right spot with such a combination of strong instruments and lyricwork.

Dave Grohl in Sound City Studios
This album is a great idea of experimentation. If you've always wanted to know how Geniuses like Dave Grohl and Trent Reznor will sound like together or how legendary bassists, Paul McCartney and Krist Novoselic or even how Rick Springfield would sound like being the frontman for Foo Fighters, Sound City is the album that would provide the answer.

4 out of 7 sins

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SparkleDrivenFairytale Releases Debut Track From Upcoming EP

It's been a long time coming. Alternative rockers,SparkleDrivenFairytale, releases one of their upcoming tracks online. It will be a good 6 minutes spent.

Catch the intensity here:

Last Lullaby goes from really familiar ground to a very nice build up at the 5.18 mark really made the song for me. And I can't help but notice all the ambient guitar work that's twirling and swirling at the back really creates intensity and depth for an otherwise pretty generic alternative rock affair. Definitely worth checking out if you're sick of masturbating guitar wannabes and wanna hear some proper songwriting.

When you're done crying from all the heartbreak this song serves you on a platter, take some time to check these hardworking dudes on their facebook page:

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Simon Yong - Alien Stole My Whiskey

I'm not so much of an expert on guitar albums. So I won't draw any comparisons to any other solo guitarists throughout this review.

In fact, I think I won't be able to, because Alien Stole My Whiskey is such an enjoyable album that it stands on its own just by sheer energy and creativity.

From the get go, Alien invites the listener with the enticing Blood of Raven. Calm and collected, almost ambient. It's obvious that it is just aural foreplay for the next track which is a total firecracker.

An Ancient March With The King's Pipers
 is an epic instrumental piece. Mixing all sorts of instrumentation and effects, Alien Stole My Whiskey is far more than just a guitar wankery showcase. In keeping up with the theme of continuity of the album, Seismic Waves picks up where Ancient March left off. Exploding with an intro riff and sweeps you off your feet with its melodic goodness.

  1. Blood of Raven
  2. An Ancient March With The King's Pipers
  3. Seismic Waves
  4. Listen To The Sun
  5. Namibian Waltz
  6. The Gardener
  7. Kyra
  8. Alien Stole My Whiskey
  9. Blood of Raven (Reprise)

Violins, keyboards, pianos, drums and bass plays almost the same level of prominence on this album as guitar. Each having a beautiful spot in the mix to blend and weave a blanket of sound. Seismic Waves, The Gardener  and Listen To The Sun are perfect examples of the aforementioned fusion of instruments. Melodic and precise, Simon Yong knows what he is good at and takes no time to flaunt it.

As enjoyable as this album is, Kyra got me bored after all the flexing in the album. It does serve its purpose to show the more delicate side of Simon's chops but it feels abit disjointed from the overall theme that seemed to be going on with the rest of the album. And the fact that this sounds like the obligatory track that every solo guitarist album has to have, has got me neither amazed nor disappointed about it. In short, too typical and breaks the flow of an otherwise intense album of riffs and build ups.

Alien is an amazing guitar album that deserves to be listened to by guitar enthusiasts as well as music lovers alike. The songwriting keeps you glued from start to finish and the musical prowess of everyone on the album maintains a level of badassery that many wished they possess. Sure, there are rough edges here and there, and it could have been made better but it also makes Alien a far more personal album by bearing its flaws.

5 out of 7 Sins
Pros: Brilliant musicianship and composition, seamless fusion of instruments
Cons: Album could be longer, Kyra is a wet blanket, wish Blood of Raven was a full song rather than a filler

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AFI Is Back!

It seems like forever since the band's last release in 2009. Crash Love didn't make much of an impact as Sing The Sorrow (2003) and Decemberunderground (2006) did. Furthermore, the band's vocalist, Davey Havok and guitarist Jade Puget were busy with their Electro side-project, Blaqk Audio. Adding to that, Havok also starred in a film (Knife Fight) and wrote a novel (Pop Kids). Yes. The band members just can't stop doing something. That leads us here with two of their latest singles, 17 Crimes and I Hope You Suffer.

Hunter Burgan, Davey Havok, Adam Carson & Jade Puget
Burials, AFI's ninth full-length album, will be released later this year and with two singles already out on iTunes and streaming everywhere on the internet, AFI has certainly promised the fans that they are seriously back.

17 Crimes did not come across as something attractive at first but it grows on you... like a parasite (which you wouldn't want to let go). It might sound like something from Crash Love at first but once you get hooked in, it can safely be included in Sing The Sorrow's B-sides. Truth be told, AFI will never go back to its roots. They keep evolving and discovering new avenues of creativity.

Listen to 17 Crimes:

I Hope You Suffer is by far the most different AFI has ever been. Though some may say that it draws influence from Decemberground because of its electronic sounds, it does draw some new industrial-like influences into it. When I say different, I didn't mean it as an entirely new band. You can't miss Havok's seductive vocal intro leading into an aggressive chorus. Other than that, the signature AFI gang vocals at the bridge of the track reminds us that this is the same band we've grown to love.

Personally, I'm in love with this track. It's a sound that they have never done before but still retains the core AFI sound. Adam Carson really hit it right in this one with the intense drumline that pretty much carries the song from start to end.

Don't take my word for it, listen to the I Hope You Suffer and you'll understand:

Burials will be available on October 22, newly signed under an urban label, Republic Records.

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New Track From Russian Circles

2 years. That's all it always took for Chicago-based instrumentalists, Russian Circles, to premiere a beast track. They have always been consistent in delivering new material since their debut, Enter, back in 2006. Every single album seems to have its own thematic feel and character.

Deficit is a monster mash of everything Russian Circles. Long, exaggerated feedbacks, heavy drum beats, haunting synths that seem to just weave in and out of the intensity, riffs that seem to speak their own beautiful language and no vocals. Everything is spot on in this track, the production of the track sounds way better than anything from Empros and I can only expect great things coming from Memorial (out October 29).

Listen to Deficit here:

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Palms - Palms LP

Released: 25 June 2013
Label: Ipecac Records
When it was rumoured that Chino Moreno (Deftones) was combining forces with the instrumental remnants of Isis (Jeff Caxide, Aaron Harris and Bryant Meyer), I couldn't wait to get my dose of Palms. Being a long time Isis fan, I was excited to hear what this fusion would sound like after such good albums coming from both Deftones and Isis (prior to their break-up) respectively. With Chino on vocals, it would be an interesting musical alchemy.

Ever since 2010, alot has happened within both bands too. Deftones released their comeback album, Diamond Eyes, Chino fronted a new electronic side project that has released 2 EPs since forming (read the review here) and Isis released Wavering Radiant(2009) and played their swansong tour.


  1. Future Warrior
  2. Patagonia
  3. Mission Sunset
  4. Shortwave Radio
  5. Tropics
  6. Antartic Handshake
Opening with Future Warrior's slew of guitar melodies weaving through molten bass lines, Palms feels like it is on the right path. However, all that intensity is lost with Patagonia. Alot may disagree with me on this, but this song is boring and repetitive. Other than the sudden burst of energy during the chorus, it really has nothing else going on for it.

Mission Sunset returns the album back to its feet after Patagonia. Every single note in this track keeps growing and growing up till the moment Chino belts it out. It one of those tracks that make your hair stand on end and your head sway to the sonic ocean waves that engulfs your consciousness. There's everything to love and nothing to forget. Must listen. Headphones and dimly lit room recommended.

Following Mission Sunset is the uncanny Shortwave Radio and Tropics. These tracks that possess every drop of goodness from each member and leaves you wanting for more. Unfortunately, the album kind of just goes flat after this.

Not saying that I don't appreciate a good dose of ambient soundscapes and reverb drenched instruments, but following the footsteps of PatagoniaAntartic Handshake does nothing but roll around in a puddle of echos and never finding it's the way out again. Simply said, it's boring too.

It might just be expectation acting on me but there could have been better tracks coming from this insane line-up but apparently only half of the album manages to properly display that. The rest is still bathing in reverb and delay that does little but fill up the background of your headspace.

Writer's fave: Future WarriorMission Sunset, Shortwave Radio

5 out of 7 Sins

Pros: Melodies, huge enormous build ups, chino steamy vocal sandwich
Cons: Feels contrived and repetitive at times, could have been more intense

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Queens of The Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork

Released: 3 June 2013
Label: Matador, Rekords Rekords
Almost seven years in the making and recovering from a near-death experience, Josh Homme brings the posse back together and unleashes one of the most creatively seductive album of 2013. Leave your left feet outside, Queens of The Stone Age are back and they're gonna make you dance and cry at the same time.

Josh was definitely onto something by including musicians like Trent Reznor, Dave Grohl, Elton John and long-time collaborators, Mark Lanegan, Alain Johannes and Nick Oliveri (didn't see this one coming) in the mix. What resulted is nothing short of an amazing cauldron of riffs, fuzz, thumps and coos, that might just be on par with their critically acclaimed Songs For The Deaf, 2002 (or Rated R,2000, depending on the individual).

  1. Keep Your Eyes Peeled
  2. I Sat By The Ocean
  3. The Vampyre of Time and Memory
  4. If I Had a Tail
  5. My God Is The Sun
  6. Kalopsia
  7. Fairweather Friends
  8. Smooth Sailing
  9. I Appear Missing
  10. ...Like Clockwork
Opening the trip is brooding bass-trodden Keep Your Eyes Peeled, a track that pretty much sets the mood for almost the whole album. It is a dark and melancholic trip through a dizzying array of conflicting melodies that sound like they're going to fall apart at any moment. But, it won't.

Personally, the album takes a more conceptual approach once The Vampyre of Time and Memory comes in with an almost minimalist composition of piano, drums and vocals and some ambient noises. Followed by If I Had A Tail and My God Is The Sun, I just can't help but picture a scenario of lost hope that turns into anger that finally trancends into a higher understanding of self. I might just be reading too much into the structure of the music and it might just be about sex and banging in the back seats of race cars, but this is my own personal interpretation. So ignore it and enjoy the amazing musicianship if you don't like it.

The rest of the album are chocked full of goodness too, Fairweather Friends is quick and to the point in its delivery of addictive choruses and riffage. Smooth Sailing brings good ol' boogie down QoTSA with classic fuzz solos and sexy basslines. Finally, I Appear Missing brings forth an intense buildup of psychedelic riffs, a chorus that will have you singing along and a drum beat that seems to compliment every peak and trough.

Progressive and daring, solid yet fragile enough to break apart at the slightest prod, and an emotional journey from start to end ...Like Clockwork is a must-listen by anyone who enjoys their share of good music. and I'm probably giving this a full score cause I think Troy is a total vampire cause he is still hot over the years.

Writer's fave: If I Had A Tail, I Appear Missing, Fairweather Friends

7 out of 7 sins
Pros: Creative songwriting, Dave Grohl, captivating from start to finish
Cons: Feels short

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Ghost - Infestissumam

Released: 10 April 2013
Label: Loma Vista
With this latest offering, Ghost is out to prove that they aren't just another flash in the pan amongst the myriad of stoner/psychedelic/70s-fused bands emerging from Sweden recently.

Most fans of Opus Eponymous(2010) might just write Ghost off their list of faves as the catchy vibe and cheesy musical references to past great bands are less obvious here. With more focus in place for melodic arrangement of vocals, keyboard parts as well as deeper songwriting.

Infestissumam, while still maintaining the unique with tracks like Secular Haze, Year Zero and the surprisingly beautiful, Ghuleh/Zombie Queen, it still serves adequate fanfare through tracks such as Per Aspera Ad Inferi, Body and Blood and Monstrance Clock.

  1. Infestissumam
  2. Per Aspera Ad Inferi
  3. Secular Haze
  4. Jigolo Har Megiddo
  5. Ghuleh/Zombie Queen
  6. Year Zero
  7. Body and Blood
  8. Idolatrine
  9. Depth of Satan's Eyes
  10. Monstrance Clock
It is obvious that with this sophomore release, Papa Emeritus II and The Nameless Ghouls aim to set their mark as a band with their own style and musical identity and not just be referred to as "that Mercyful Fate band". With tracks like Secular HazeYear Zero and Jigolo Har Megiddo giving a more than a slight tap on the shoulder of 70s pop and disco, it is safe to say that the inspiring force behind this album might just be 70s dance music as compared to the more easily obvious Occult Rock direction of their debut.

A personal favourite would be Ghuleh/Zombie Queen and it would serve as the ultimate epitome of Infestissumam stylistically. It begins with a ballad infused piano intro and a cooing Papa Emeritus that stretches for a solid 3 minutes. As weird as that maybe, it's new, it's surprising and it shows depth in Ghost as a songwriting entity. They're not here to satisfy your need for a refresher of the greats in the 70s, they're here to tell you how it would sound like to be a great band from the 70s.

Clocking in at 7 and a half minutes, the song gets a tempo boost near the middle and that is where the real fun starts. With a signature chorus hook that pulls you to sing along and worship openly, tremolo doused guitar lines that weaves a nice thread through the instrumental fabric and the cheesy, scooby-snacked keyboard accompaniment that is just uniquely Ghost. Ghuleh/Zombie Queen is definitely a must to listen to.

Infestissumam might be abit more of a grower than a shocker in comparison to Opus but that's the root of the scrutiny that this album faces. That being the pressure of doing a repetition of what they have done before and being continuously judged based on a great debut. Bands evolve over time and with this album, Ghost's evolution proves that they can do much more than what most would expect.

All in all, as enjoyable as the album is, it is not all power and praise as Idolatrine and Depth of Satan's Eyes feels a tad contrived and lacks the sinful attraction of prior tracks. It is, however, saved by the inclusion of closing track, Monstrance Clock, which is another intense ending to a chapter in Ghost's sermon.

Writer's fave: Year Zero, Ghuleh/Zombie Queen, Body and Blood, Monstrance Clock

5 out of 7 sins

Pros: Refreshing direction, catchiness intact, deeper songwriting, better production quality
Cons: Too many mid to slow-tempo songs, weaker tracks feels too disjointed

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Shining - Blackjazz

Released: 18 January 2010
Label: Indie Recordings
Have you ever wondered if it is possible to mix the erratic juxtaposed noise of early Nine Inch Nails with the abrasive angst of Ministry? And on top of that trickle a fancy touch of prog sensibility?

Norwegian Avant-Garde Jazz/Metal band, Shining, proves that it is possible and there's no boundary to their music that is left unexplored in their mind-numbing 2010 release, Blackjazz.

Fronted by Saxophonist and Multi-instrumentalist Jørgen Munkeby, Shining boasts an extremely energetic and fresh combination of two extreme genres of music; Jazz and Metal. With fuzzy guitar leads, screeching synths and massive growls that could leave scratch marks all over your walls, Shining has not only refined a long-lost sound of the 90s industrial genre but has also made it their own with their unique touch of prog metal and jazz on this 9-track LP.


1. The Madness and The Damage Done Pt. 1

2. Fisheye
3. Exit Sun Pt. 1
4. Exit Sun Pt. 2
6. The Madness and The Damage Done Pt. 2

7. Blackjazz Deathtrance
8. Omen
9. 21st Century Schizoid Man (King Crimson Cover)

HEALTER SKELTER is a great stand-out track on Blackjazz, mainly due to the hypnotic saxophone intro intertwining with the fuzzy bassline and sporadic drums. It sounds as though 70s prog got pissed off and went on an all-out rampage. With the absence of vocals, HEALTER SKELTER is definitely highlights Shining's instrumental prowess.

Ending the album with a cover of King Crimson's 21st Century Schizoid Man, this rendition pushes the original further into Schizophrenic madness with louder droning guitars, squealing sax and on top of it all, a very monstrous vocal performance. It just brings an old prog classic back to life from an angle most bands would usually falter. Pure badassery alert right here.

I have nothing but praise for this band, but as much as I enjoy Blackjazz, I would have preferred if they've made longer filler tracks (Exit Sun Pt. 2 and The Madness and The Damage Done Pt. 2) just so it would display a different facade on an already technically amazing band and provide a breather in between all the aural assault.

Writer's Fave: HEALTER SKELTER, Exit Sun Pt. 1, The Madness and The Damage Done Pt. 1/2

6 out of 7 sins

p.s: I know the album was released 3 years ago, but I've only found about them this year and had the strongest overwhelming urge to just review the album. so just enjoy reading it and check them out if you haven't. and if you have, good for you. there's more to come.

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